PSCI 430
Senior Seminar: Dignity Fall 2015 Division II;
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Over the last few decades, the concept of dignity has become one of the most contentious and emotive terms in democratic politics. Policy battles over embryonic stem cell research, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, life-sustaining treatments such as mechanical ventilation, and the constitutionality of the death penalty have all been fought out on the grounds of human dignity. But what exactly does dignity mean? Is it an existential demand for respect? A moral, intangible quality of a person? A set of legally guaranteed rights of citizens? This course examines some of the strongest attacks on and defenses of human dignity, both in theory and in practice. The emphasis will be on the role of dignity in shaping modern ideas of democracy, citizenship, and human rights. Readings construct a genealogy of dignity that includes Aquinas, Pico della Mirandola and Kant. Contemporary theories of dignity will be explored through the work of Drucilla Cornell, Jürgen Habermas, Martha Nussbaum, Jeremy Waldron, and the dignity jurisprudence of Canada, Germany, Namibia, South Africa, and the United States.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 15
Class#: 1888
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short (1 page) response papers, a 15- to 18-page final essay
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and prior coursework in political theory, cultural theory, philosophy; or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: senior Political Science majors with concentration in Political Theory, then other Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: PSCI Political Theory Courses

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